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SC Halts Himachal High Court’s Gaggal Airport Expansion Block

The Supreme Court, on Monday, intervened by staying the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s order that had temporarily halted the expansion work at Gaggal airport in the Kangra district. The three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, issued the stay while allowing the High Court to proceed with pending petitions.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the state government, highlighted that Kangra airport is the only one among the three airports in the state capable of expansion. The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, in June 2023, chaired by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, had decided to move forward with the land acquisition process for the airport’s expansion.

The High Court, in its January 9 order, acknowledged the re-examination of the matter by the state government in light of a letter from the Airport Authority of India regarding financial and technical viability. The High Court deemed it inappropriate to allow the resumption of land possession, structure demolition, or the relief and rehabilitation process at this stage, considering the possibility of the state government revisiting its decision. As a result, the High Court maintained a status quo until the next hearing, preventing any progress in the relief and rehabilitation process or changes to the acquired land.

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